HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – With houses of worship potentially re-opening, The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has released new safety standards for churches.
Those new standards will mean a reduced number of people allowed in church buildings at one time, and spacing between those worshipers.
The guidelines require that houses of worship limit their capacity to 40%. Also, worshipers will have to be seated at least six feet apart from people not in their household as well as wear a mask. Coffee hours and other social gatherings before and after services will be prohibited.
The guidelines make some recommendations in order to make these capacity limits work. That could include encouraging the faithful sign up online in advance of a church service. Mass DPH is also recommending churches make additional precautions for collections and the distribution of communion.
Additional guidelines for Catholic churches in the Diocese of Springfield: Full list
- Turn-off water fountains and cover them.
- Remove hymnals and other prayer cards, Mass guides etc.
- Make sure doors at entrances can be left open for contact-free entry and
- Determine entrance and exit patterns and procedures for proper social distancing. Can doors be utilized for just entrance or exit so as to create a one-way traffic pattern
- Mark restrooms for emergency use only
- Determine if church windows can be open to allow fresh air into the
- At the minimum start by blocking off every other pew.